Male Champion Forum, a CIWA Initiative
To shift cultural norms that reinforce the perception that water resource management is a male domain, CIWA launched the Male Champion Forum for men to work with other men to foster more gender-equitable spaces for women’s participation.
In June 2023, CIWA hosted a one-day workshop with eight East African members of the Male Champion Forum, who demonstrated a strong commitment to work with other men in water resources management to promote gender equality. The men are eager to maintain the Forum’s momentum by holding regular meetings, creating a social media platform, developing an action plan, and expanding the network to a broader group working on gender issues.
CIWA has designed a pilot program to foster a cadre of men to spur changes in social norms and values on gender in transboundary water management and development, a sector that is dominated by men and strongly influenced by patriarchal norms and values.
CIWA believes that engaging men is key to transformative change and that working directly with pioneering men can help overcome male resistance to women having equal roles.
In the context of patriarchal cultural and social norms, women are stereotyped as being only water users rather than also as people who should have autonomy to make decisions about water use and management.
CIWA’s Male Champion Forum has the following goals:
- Increase awareness about the critical role that men can play in championing gender equality in the transboundary water context.
- Identify actions and initiatives that Male Champions can take to advance gender equality in transboundary water institutions.
- Facilitate opportunities for Male Champions to take individual and collective action to promote opportunities for women to play a greater role in decision making in transboundary water institutions.
- Improve representation of women in decision making.